A Conversation for Prions
dryandra Started conversation May 22, 2001
Read an interesting theory on BSE
"Caused by a lack of copper combined with an excess of maganese resulting from farmers in UK(a) applying organophosphate pesticide to cattle, depleting copper, and (b) feeding egg products which contained high maganese."
This theory may also explain the geographical clusters of other prion type diseases around the world (New Guinea Highlands etc) which may correlate to naturally occurring levels of these metals in those environments.
Metal Chicken Posted May 22, 2001
I saw this in a BBC Wildlife magazine recently and I believe there was a BBC TV show about the theory aired in March '01. The researcher behind the theory thinks that prions bind to copper so in the absence of copper they need an alternative and manganese is a suitable candidate. The guy's theory about prions is that they help to mop up oxidising chemicals that might otherwise damage the brain but with an imbalance of copper and manganese everything goes pear-shaped. Either the brain is damaged by oxidising agents or the prions function is disrupted and they trigger further damage in the brain cells.
It'd be interesting to know if there's any other research backing up his theories given how persuasively they seemed to explain some of the CJD clusters.
Salamander the Mugwump Posted May 22, 2001
Hiya Metal chicken and dryandra. I watched the programme on the manganese and organophosphates. We chatted about it on the unedited article's thread, here http://www.bbc.co.uk/h2g2/guide/F59055?thread=96068 - somewhere in the last 3 or 4 pages if you don't want to plough through the lot. It was quite interesting but left me wanting to know more. I'd like to read the BBC Wildlife magazine article. There were a couple of online items but I didn't find them very convincing. It would be interesting to find out more. At the end of that programme, it looked as though the organic farmer who started the organophosphate and manganese line of enquiry might get a grant to carry on with his work.
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